App Annie report: iOS customization apps gain popularity, as chat apps rake in the money

App Annie report: iOS customization apps gain popularity, as chat apps rake in the money

Android users are typically perceived to be more open to customizing their content, but it seems like iOS users have finally hopped onto the customization bandwagon as well — no doubt aided by the release of iOS 7, a bold overhaul that gave the iPhone an entirely new look.

App store analytics service App Annie today released its latest data on app usage, which found that customization apps have jumped in the iOS app rankings for the month of October.

While Android customization apps like SwiftKey Keyboard have been featured in the Apps Index every month so far this year, Emoji was the only iOS customization app that made it to the Apps Index — and only for June. Yet in October, two iOS customization apps have made a splash in the rankings.

Wallpapers plus for iOS 7 takes advantage of the new features in the latest OS and customizes the iPhone wallpaper accordingly. It has become the eighth most-downloaded non-game app on the iOS App Store in October.

An app from China-based publisher Meitu, Emoticon Factory, customizes the sticker experience within messaging service WeChat by letting users create animated stickers with their own pictures — and it has propelled Meitu a whopping 18 places up to become the top ninth publisher by monthly iOS downloads excluding games.


App Annie notes that Meitu’s move to hitch a ride on WeChat also points to the trend of an increasingly important role that messaging app platforms play.

In turn, the analytics service found that chat apps were leaders in terms of the amount of revenue made on Google Play in October — Japanese messaging service Line took top spot, while South Korea’s Kakao Talk came in second. Line also came in second in terms of revenue made on iOS during the month.

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This doesn’t come as a surprise considering that messaging services are becoming more like platforms, where basic chat functionality gets enriched with games, stickers, marketing tiers for businesses, and e-commerce. For example, in the quarter ending September 2013, Line made 9.9 billion yen ($99.8 million), with stickers making up 20 percent of the revenue, while games took 60 percent.

However, App Annie also notes that WhatsApp and its more basic approach to messaging continue to appeal to users — since switching in July from a paid model where users had to pay $0.99 up front, it has consistently been ranked the top third non-game app by monthly downloads on the iOS App Store. Since the start of the year, it has already been the number two non-game app on Google Play.

In October, WhatsApp progressed even further by rising two spots to join the top four grossing apps on Google Play. App Annie notes that the messaging service’s increased user base has “already translated into an increase in revenue that has led to a jump in revenue rankings.”

Last month, it was revealed that WhatsApp had surpassed 350 million active users every month — up 50 million in just two months.

Headline image via Shutterstock

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